Monday, February 4, 2013



It was another warm and beautiful sunny blue sky morning in Cuenca as Bo and I walked from our apartment to Sra. Zoila's Restaurant, La Casa De Las Golosinas at Calle De Las Herrerias 2-10.  Last weekend, we ate there with friends, and Sra. Zoila and I conversed in Spanish about her wonderful Tamales, her family life, and how it all began.  I told her I would love to watch her creating these delicacies and photograph her production line, and she generously invited me to come back the following Saturday.  I was honored to be able to observe how this energetic and kind woman makes these unique and delicious tamales.  Well, it was beyond what I had imagined once Bo and I were in her kitchen watching and photographing her efficient hard-working employees, her kind and joyful husband, and the master herself preparing the 500 daily tamales, humitas, and guimbolitos and several different delicious hot drinks for the day's projected sales.

Early morning, in Sra Zoila's kitchen!  

Sra. Zoila, Marcie, and Gustabo begin filling the hundreds of hoja wraps.

Huge pots were brought out with specially prepared ingredients.....

......and one-by-one each tamale was systematically and generously created.  These are Sr. Zoila's to-die-for Tamales De Chancho.
Sr. Zoila is an expert tamale wrapper and has been doing so for over 50 years!
We watched the perfectly prepared tamales begin to stack up - rows and rows - and then they were carefully placed into large crates and huge steamer pots.

Sra. Zoila is 72, and her husband, Leoncio Duran is 80!  They were both so warm and inviting to Bo and me, and it was a joy watching them working together as a team.  Here they are preparing the next round - Tamales Con Queso (with cheese).  Leoncio cracks fresh eggs into their freshly ground harina de maiz.

Now for the pouring of the freshly melted butter!
Sr. Zoila makes her annatto coloring from seed, which she is now adding to her tamale mix. (Top & Bottom Photos)

The Sra. carefully and lovingly hand-mixes all of her batches......
.......which are once again filled, folded, and stored for the day.

 As a Lifestyle photographer it is my aim to capture and document real-life events and people in an artistic and heart-touching manner.  This day, I nominated this as my prize photo! Aged hard-working hands working in unity, not just today but for many past years and for more years to come.

Sr. Leoncio is checking on their most amazing Arroz Con Leche bebida (Rice Milk Drink).  It is warm, sweet, and as if drinking a dessert!
Sra. Zoila cracks open a packet of Ecuadorian unsweetened dark chocolate.......

.......adds it to a large pot of hot pure whole milk..........

......and then hand whisks it until it's melted and blended!
The sugar is then added........

........and Marci gives it the taste-test and her final stir and approval!  It was the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted - truly!!

Cafe Tinto is another hot and delicious drink made fresh daily....  (Top and Bottom Photos)

At La Casa, choclo is cut in half and the leaves are carefully peeled away ready to be filled as Humitas (sweeter than tamales). Top and Bottom Photos

Marci skillfully hand-measures each serving for Guimbolitos (a sweet corn cake and oh so delicious) while Sr. Leoncio looks on.

 When the day's food quota was prepared and ready, Bo and I were ushered away to a table outside, and Sra. Zoila and Sr. Leoncio began to bring us one of everything - hot and freshly steamed.  It was truly a feast to behold!  We savored everything as such a delicacy, now that we knew how freshly and lovingly prepared each dish was created.  The drinks were an added treat, and by the time we had cleaned our plate sipped our drinks, and licked our lips - WE WERE STUFFED!!  We felt so honored to be invited into their kitchen to begin with, and now doubly-honored  to be treated with such kindness as they served us and smiled while we savored each bite.  It was another wonderful "Ecuadorian" experience, and we now have another Ecuadorian family whom we can visit and enjoy.  I look forward to sharing these photos and a CD of the video Bo recorded with Sra. Zoila and Sr. Leoncio the next time we need our Tamale fix, which will be SOON. 

Top Left and clockwise - Quimbolito, Humita, and Tamale De Chancho are 60 cents each - REALLY!!  If you've never eaten here, YOU MUST!  Tell Sr. Zoila Linda (Leen-dah) sent you........


  1. YUMM! Linda, love your pic's and story descriptions. I'm hungry now!! You made me feel like I was right there in the kitchen with you watching. WOW, that is amazing at their age to make all those tamales and everything else everyday! Yikes! I loved that picture too of the aged hard working hands.

    Love you,


    1. So glad you enjoyed this blog post, Renae!
      I wanted to bring our readers right into Sra. Zoila's kitchen, and it was such an amazing experience to observe behind the lens and to capture each photo. Her energy and enthusiasm, and that of her husband and family of helpers really was such a picture of how this Ecuadorian family lives and works to provide for themselves and the future of their family.

      I love you and miss you SO MUCH!

  2. Bo and Linda,
    I enjoy your posts so much! Your many trials will make you more enduring and will help others that go after you. Thank you for sharing these incredible trials. I'm glad they do have an end. I've prayed for you during your visa process. We know God heard your prayers by the wonderful solutions that opened up for you. I do think your immigration help there should refund some of your money, for their lack of estuteness, that would have surely saved you money and trouble.
    I hope you saw the video I sent you, "He'll do it again." What a great song of encouragement, huh? I hope it was meaningful and timely. When we take a look at where we are now, and where we have been, we know that God ALWAYS comes through for us. :-)
    Your site is wonderful and I'm sure many are reading that aren't commenting. Keep up the great work and when you finally get your visa, those of us who are experiencing it with you will rejoice in a great way.
    Have a wonderful day! With love, Alena/Dallas TX

    1. Hi Alena,
      Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement, but mostly for prayers! Yes, I did see the video and it is meaningful and timely. Thank you. We will keep you posted WHEN we finally get our visas. I'm so glad you are enjoying our blog and continuing to read about our journey. Thank you for your continued comments and for being on our cheering team of readers.
      More to come.....
      Linda and Bo

  3. Incredible! My mother is from Milagro ....we went o visit about 7 yrs ago even went to Cuenca...I wish I old have known about this restaurant next time I will go, however I I'd have humitas, my aunt had a lady make one for us....so delicious!


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